A Hostile Place Paperback – Sep 8 2004
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About the Author
John Fullerton has been a frequent visitor to Afghanistan and lived in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's North West Frontier province, for three years in the early 80s. Following the September 11th attacks, he reported for Reuters from both Pakistan and Afghanistan. He lives in London.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The story covers the period December 2001 to March 2002. This is just after the Americans and some coalition countries have invaded Afghanistan and removed the Taliban from power.
The "hero", Thomas Morgan, a former soldier (and thief) in the British Army, is now a mercenary in Afghanistan. He and some other ex-soldiers are hunting down Taliban and al-Qaeda members and collecting the rewards offered by the Americans. They're modern bounty hunters.
Thomas Morgan gets injured and is then offered a job he can't say no to. Either go after Osama bin Laden for a share of the $25 million reward money, or go directly to jail.
All of the above happens in the first two chapters.
The rest of the book describes how Thomas Morgan and some others then attempt to do the job. Morgan is a key figure, as he has many years of experience as a soldier in Afghanistan, and can even successfully pass as a member of the Taliban.
This is a dark and cynical story. Morgan is disillusioned and is doing a job against his will, and nobody in the book has honorable motives. Morgan, who tells the story in the first person, is constantly unsure of whether or not he can trust the people who are supposed to be working with him. The American and British forces certainly want Osama bin Laden dead, but are they using Morgan in some kind of game where Morgan is completely expendable?
It's a very exciting story, and the descriptions of life in war-torn Afghanistan seem to be very authentic. The author, John Fullerton, certainly has the proper background to provide authenticity: In the early 1980's he was working in Afghanistan behind Soviet lines as a British agent, and he covered the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan as a journalist.
It is also a rather violent story. Death and near-death injuries and sickness and freezing cold are all daily fare in Afghanistan. Marching on after having lost a toenail is remarked on in passing and sleeping on the ground in freezing weather without a sleeping bag is standard procedure.
Another eye opening bit of information is the descriptions of how women are treated in Afghanistan.
Highly recommended if you like military action books. The lack of the fifth star is due to the plot being a little bit too far out, although generally believable and very exciting.